The Abrahamic Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free Card?

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by Devils' Advocate, Jan 31, 2016.

  1. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    OK.

    No, I’ve not explained it very well. Actually, Benedict XVI’s encyclical Spe Salvi does it better. There’s a full version online, this is from about paragraph 43 … sorry this is long, but it’s a big topic …

    This is where some, like Nick for example, consistently get it wrong. Grace does not negate the evil, it does not make out nothing ever happened. It just doesn’t bear a grudge ...

     
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  2. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    That will take some time to digest. The work you put into your post is appreciated and I will give it the attention it deserves. Back to this when I can.
     
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  3. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    Okay I can grasp all of this, and it does go a long way to helping me view the process. We are talking Purgatory here essentially. An intermediate state to allow the soul to face itself; to acknowledge and accept the actions taken in life for what they actually were rather than what we might want to believe they were. Falsehoods are exposed for what they are.

    This is a Catholic thing; it isn't a Christian thing though is it?

    Some recent theologians are of the opinion that the fire which both burns and saves is Christ himself, the Judge and Saviour
    .

    This is an interesting concept. Though I would think that the fire that burns is self made. An immolation by the soul for the soul with Christ more as a steadying presence to help one get through what one must burn out of themselves. To repent, it seems to me, is to rid oneself of the flaws of our nature, which would be most effective if we did it to ourselves. No?
     
  4. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    DA,

    Do you believe in the forgiveness of sins, or do you think we are held accountable for the bad things we do?
     
  5. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    The two aren't mutually exclusive are they? I guess it depends on how one defines being held accountable. In the sense we are talking about in this thread you are held accountable in the sense that you must honestly face what you have done and sincerely repent.

    I get the impression, correct me if I am wrong, that you see judgement day as a scale where all your good deeds go on one side, and all your bad deeds go on the other. Whichever side weighs more defines you and decides your fate. Heaven or Hell. Is that correct?

    As for me personally, remember I am not of the Abrahamic faiths. So there is no Heaven or Hell in what I believe. Where others would say we are innately soul stuff, I would say we are star stuff. We are a collection of energy removed from, but still a part of, the energy that makes up the universe and given physical form. The universe in its entirety is the source from which all springs and to which all must return. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. So in a sense we go on after death, though I'm not sure our individuality survives as a unit after death.

    I know I didn't directly answer your question. It all gets complicated from what I have said thus far. And I need to get myself to work!
     
  6. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    “The two aren't mutually exclusive are they?”

    --> I think they are. I do not think we can have forgiveness of sins and also have full accountability. I think it is either one or the other. Do you think another way is possible?

    “I guess it depends on how one defines being held accountable.”

    --> You are right. In my belief system, if a person commits murder, they will not have paid off their ‘debt’ until they have had an equally bad thing happen to them.

    “In the sense we are talking about in this thread you are held accountable in the sense that you must honestly face what you have done and sincerely repent.”

    --> I would add the idea of suffering an amount of suffering equal to the bad deed that was done.

    “I get the impression, correct me if I am wrong, that you see judgement day as a scale where all your good deeds go on one side, and all your bad deeds go on the other.”

    --> Yes, that’s right.

    “Whichever side weighs more defines you and decides your fate. Heaven or Hell. Is that correct?”

    --> It is not that simple. I think we can spend time in both heaven and hell after we die. There is no reason to think we go only to heaven or hell after we die. There is also no reason to think heaven and hell are eternal.

    “As for me personally, remember I am not of the Abrahamic faiths.”

    --> Neither am I. My ideas are not influenced by Abrahamic faiths.

    “I'm not sure our individuality survives as a unit after death.”

    --> What do you think happens to you after you die?

    “I know I didn't directly answer your question.”

    --> That’s okay. You are making good progress. You still have a lot of ideas to figure your way through. Take your time. Enjoy the ride.
     
  7. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    Curious. Not Abrahamic yet still involved with Heaven and Hell. What is the religious foundation of your belief system?
     
  8. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    DA, I am a Theosophist.
     
  9. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Well in the Christian Tradition we're talking about the duration of time between the moment of death, and the General Judgement at the end of the world, as spoken of in the Bible ...

    Yes.

    Expressed as Purgatory is Catholic. There are similar ideas in Orthodox theologies. Some views tend to the idea that after death and before the Judgement, the Blessed await in expectation of the Beatific Vision, while the damned wait in expectation of Hell ... to expect either means one has to know what's coming, as it were ... the parable of the rich man suggests he knows he's damned, and is in a state of suffering until the Judgement ...

    We get into the realm of:
    1: God wills that all will be saved;
    2: No two persons are quite the same. Some might be unrepentant sinners, and others superlative saints, but most will be somewhere on the scale in between ... so what happens there?

    Personally, as I see God as Good, I have issues with someone condemned to perpetual suffering for no good end. So I tend to the Christian metaphysical notion of salvation – the self is purified or, if there is no good there at all, it is extinguished. The idea that only the good can live in the good ...

    For the same reason I can't accept Theosophy's 'tit-for-tat' approach, both seem to play to the very human failing for the need for satisfaction, or is it revenge.

    I'd say self-induced, but we need to be in the presence of the 'real' else we continue in the illusion of our own manufacture. In the world we can see the example of those who see their flaws as their virtues ... We might think we've 'broken through' but then maybe we're just entering a more sophisticated delusion. We can't measure the self against self, we need an external benchmark.

    I can't see how if someone forgives another, they then go on to punish that person, it's illogical, or more accurately, it's irrational. I can see how someone can be brought to a place where they see themselves for who and what they are, and are forgiven, but that still means the person forgiven now sees themselves for real and the resulting realisation, the shame, maybe, or whatever you want to call it – is a perfecting fire, a 'painful realisation'.

    The more 'metaphysical' writings of the Fathers saw not so much perpetual suffering of the damned, as the extinction of the soul which, when cleansed by fire, results in nothing left of the individual person, the individual nature is so corrupted that it cannot stand in the face of The Good.
     
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  10. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    Self-induced works just as well. I wasn't suggesting the benchmark was in ourselves; that would come from JC. That when pointed out to us, if we are honest enough to accept where we strayed, we would burn with shame; which is the self induced fire that would purify us.

    The concept of the extinction of the soul makes so much more sense to me than the traditional fire and brimstone Hell. The latter has always seemed to me to be a boogie man to scare the common people so much they would be too afraid to stray from the rules. Another issue for me is that the so called elite in society are never bound by these same rules. Oh there is lip service to that effect; the reality has always been quite the opposite. I am speaking of the religious law here on this planet of course. JC suggested that they would get their comeuppance in the afterlife. And that must be taken on faith.

    But I stray. The soul that is so corrupted would be cleansed by fire to the point that there is nothing remaining. The question that remains is where does Satan fit into this scenario. Traditionally he overlords in Hell ruling over the suffering of the wicked. Take that away and and I'm not sure where he fits any longer. He becomes more like the bully who has been banned from the school yard.
     
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  11. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    I disagree. I think spending a couple of billion years in hell would do the trick. (Please remember that I think hell is temporary, not eternal.)
     
  12. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    Both are certainly accepted versions in multiple Christian religions.
     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    That's the way I see it.

    Indeed.

    I think that's a whole other question.
     
  14. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    What's your view of universal salvation in the writings of Gregory of Nyssa, St. Isaac the Syrian, and others? You briefly mentioned it in post #29, and then wrote about your personal view. I'm curious how they would respond to your doctrine of annihilation.

    "For Paul, in particular, the marvel of Christ’s lordship is that all walls of division between persons and peoples, and finally between all creatures, have fallen; and that ultimately, when creation is restored by Christ, God will be all in all. There is no more magnificent meditation on this vision than Gregory of Nyssa’s image of the progress of all persons towards union with God in the one 'pleroma' of the totus Christus: all spiritual wills moving, to use his lovely image, from outside the temple walls (in the ages) into the temple precincts, and finally (beyond the ages) into the very sanctuary of the glory—as one."
    -David Bentley Hart​

    Wish I had more time to chat. But I'm busy now. Just dropping a quick note on a topic that piques my interest.

    Oh, and one more thing: from the Islamic tradition Rumi also seems to be talking about universal salvation in "The Alchemy of Love"--with statements translated into English as "love embraces all," "all evils transform into goodness," and "all that is profane becomes sacred again":

     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
  15. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    He's annihilated too?

    Consider the scenario of universal salvation. In the end Satan no longer remains in a demonic state; he goes back to the beginning, to his angelic state. He's transformed.

    "He [God] is going to bring them [demons] to a single equal state of perfection in relationship to His own Being – in a (state) in which the holy angels are now, in perfection of love . . . "
    -St. Isaac the Syrian
     
  16. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    It seems you're not correctly portraying Nick's argument. It isn't like "nothing ever happened." Nick himself wrote: "(Please remember that I think hell is temporary, not eternal.)" If "nothing ever happened," then Nick wouldn't believe in a temporary hell. So I'm confused about why you say Nick and those like him "consistently get it wrong." :confused:
     
  17. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Hey Nick, do you think annihilation is even real? I'm wondering why you don't accept this view. For me, there are a few reasons - one of them being annihilation is relative.
     
  18. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Ahanu,

    No, I do not think that annihilation is real. It doesn't make sense to me. I do not see why we should go through a lot of trouble and suffering in life, go through a lot of work to improve ourselves, just to have ourselves annihilated later. I am also not sure what you mean by "annihilation is relative".

    Here is what I think happens. There are various aspects to our being, which can be grouped into our lower self and our higher self. I do believe that, once our lower self is no longer needed, it is annihilated. But once this happens, our higher self continues to exist (no longer fettered by having to drag its lower self around all the time).

    So you believe that once our time on earth is complete, all aspects of us are completely annihilated? What, then, is the purpose of our existence?
     
  19. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    As a specific doctrine particularly defined by the Catholic Church, no ... as a general idea, yes.

    Purgatory to the Orthodox mind says that those who are saved by Baptism and Repentance and participation in the sacramental life of the Church, but for whom sin – passions, addictions, attachments to worldly things which inhibit spiritual growth towards theosis, are given the grace of expiation so that they are not denied the Vision of God. For those who die in a state of faith and repentance but who have not attained the end in terms of spiritual progress, are nevertheless saved, but this does not abrogate the need to pass through the stages of purgation and illumination necessary to theosis.

    It is certain Catholic interpretations of purgatory rather than the concept itself, which are rejected.

    We see it differently.

    To repent is to want to. The ability to do so is another matter. The problem is we have no objective measure, 'the last to see it is you' and we're very good at being blind to our own defects. We need an external measure, and ideally someone who knows us better than we know ourselves ... but having said that, I can agree ...
     
  20. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Yep. I think the 'self induced' is a bit of a chicken or egg scenario.

    Yes, it does to me, too.

    I think it also corresponds to the human desire for revenge. We're pretty good at dreaming up all manner of hells in which we can delight in the idea of those who oppress us suffer. It shows how much the desire for revenge is so seated in the psyche. It also shows how difficult authentic forgiveness is. People demand a price. Christ, the Buddha, they never did ...

    Here I would distinguish between the actor, as it were, and the effect of the acts. The effects of evil live on and in that sense contaminate the world, whilst the person who gave rise to the acts might well be extinct ... and the 'weight' of the evil is still in the world.
     
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